Kansas City Oysters


from-roger bultot.jpg

This picture, provided by Roger Boltot, made me think of the Kauffman Center in Kansas City.  It’s a beautiful venue, but more important is the man who gave the money, Ewing Kauffman.  When I got the idea for this story, I went to do some research and whattya know!  TODAY, as I write this, September 21 — is Ewing Kauffman’s 100th birthday anniversary!  Who knew?  I certainly didn’t!  Thanks, Mr. K.

Below is an anecdote about one of his labs’ inventions.  After the story, you’ll see a link as to what Ewing Kauffman’s secret formula for true business success was.


He sat down and wrote it on a napkin.  His labs had made the supplement simply from oyster shells.

So, how to promote it?

Of course, this was a problem he maybe never anticipated as a former pharmaceutical salesman, who, in the beginning, filled bottles, labeled them with his company name and took to the streets of the medical world from his home garage.

Imagine. The founder of Marion Labs, now a huge and highly successful operation, writing a promotional on a napkin!


“Enjoy your oysters

We bid thee well

You need the protein

We need the shell



This link is called Leadership The Marion Way.  You want to know how to truly be successful, this is it.  Be inspired and go create your own businesses!


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48 Responses to Kansas City Oysters

  1. Ha.. I’m not sure I would love a synthetic oyster… my fantasy of what that source of protein would be… I shiver.

  2. neilmacdon says:

    I tried the same with my books. Publishers keep turning down my scribbles on napkins. What am I doing wrong?

  3. Lynn Love says:

    Nice coincidence! Who would have looked for a successful drug in oyster shells? That’s why people like Kauffman was such a successful business man I guess. Nice anecdote 🙂

  4. I like this man.
    Thanks for shell-casing him for us. A pearl!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Barrump-bump! Thanks, Randy. I don’t know how much you’d know about him outside of being the past owner of the Royals or not. The link is great! Read a page and you’ll see why.

      • I did. That’s why I responded as I did. I didn’t know of him from Adam (well, I do know Adam. I mean not personally) nor am I a soccer fan, so I don’t know the Royals (other than Royal pudding or the Queen. I do know chocolate, but not the Queen).
        Now you can write “barrump-bump!”
        Ha. Randy

      • wmqcolby says:

        Hahaha! Randy, I had heard that you are a New Yorker. If that’s true, then I know if you leave New York, you’re out of town. 😀

  5. Astounding coincidence that it is Ewing Kauffman’s 100th birthday anniversary today! An interesting read, well done. 🙂

  6. Iain Kelly says:

    Very educational, nice anecdote.

  7. Dear Cuzzin Notnek,

    I’m pretty sure I’ve written snippets of stories on napkins. I’ve most certainly written them on the back of cake order forms and sign request pages. Happy birthday Mr. K. Good one.


    Cuzzin Shelley

  8. Thanks for the medical trivia.

    • wmqcolby says:

      Hahaha! Yes, I forgot about you, Tracey. You would be one of the fortunate few who knew about Marion Labs. Marion was Kauffman’s middle name.

    • wmqcolby says:

      The history of Marion Labs was because Kauffman saw the prescriptions getting short-changed. People were paying more and getting less product. Jeff Comment, who was the CEO of Helzberg Diamonds, said Ewing Kauffman could not have made Marion Labs the huge juggernaut it was without having integrity. The really successful businesses are actually built around integrity.

  9. draliman says:

    If I could find all the drunken scribbles I wrote on long-lost napkins while I was at university I bet I’d be rich and famous right now 🙂
    Great piece!

    • wmqcolby says:

      Thanks, Ali. This might serve as a reminder to all of us, really, that what we write down, don’t throw away. My screenwriting instructor from UCLA told me that (probably because his mom — and my mom, too — were both from the same area and were music teachers who kept ALL music they got). I’m thinking seriously of keeping a file of index cards. I have plenty, just need to find a recipe box.

  10. gahlearner says:

    What an interesting story about an interesting character. I had never heard of him, or the company.

  11. wmqcolby says:

    He was one of the great entrepreneurs and did it right. You will find, if you read the book, (I think it’s called The Millionaire Mind), the people interviewed who have millions, had this in common with him: they all had fanatical amounts of integrity. Really.

  12. I’ve seen that scenario in movies about writing on napkins. They say if you want to really make money, don’t work for someone else. Start your own business. It sounds like he was a great guy. Good writing, Kent. I learned something from this story. Happy belated birthday to Mr. Kauffman. 🙂 — Suzanne

  13. Brilliant as ever! I learned something new today, thank you.

  14. elmowrites says:

    Fascinating guy; i can see why he’s a local legend. Thanks for the education as well as the story!

  15. rgayer55 says:

    Hey, you write stuff down whenever and wherever you get the inspiration. I’m no Ewing Kauffman, but I’ve been known to make notes on napkins too.

    I followed the link and read up on Mr. Kauffman. What a great man. The world needs more like him.

  16. wmqcolby says:

    Indeed it does, Russell, and you and I know that the Golden Rule really pays big dividends. He was amazing. Yeah, that napkin writing is pretty handy. I haven’t done it in awhile, mainly because I don’t carry writing instruments. I’m learning to now, though. 🙂

  17. michael1148humphris says:

    Modern napkins are so soft, not good to write on, believe me I still try! I love reading about people, well done Ewing and well done you. Mike

  18. Michael Wynn says:

    Nice anecdote, well told and very informative.

  19. Wonderful timing, great info! Thanks a lot!

  20. I want to thank you here for always appreciating my writing! Thanks pal!

  21. Alice Audrey says:

    Was that the real ad? It sounds vaguely familiar.

    • wmqcolby says:

      I can’t remember. It might very well have been simply something for the advertisers and they improved it.. This is the first I have heard. But, I’ve been familiar with OS-CAL for years.

  22. I love the bit of history you have woven into your story today. Happy birthday Mr. K!

  23. wmqcolby says:

    Thank-you, Dawn. We ran a story about him just yesterday.

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